2019 London Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Key Dates

2 April - Launch Event
4 June - Standard Deadline
24 September - Final Deadline
1 October - Judging
8 October - Rating Closes
10 October - Winners Announced
7 November - Awards Presentation

Help us keep ratings fair

We ask for your email and name to reduce the occurence of people adding multiple ratings for the same entry

Image Credit : n/a




Project Overview

Architects and interior designers 74 refurbished Building 3, forming part of Salford’s prestigious Exchange Quay development, with the building newly-rebranded as ICE. The project, carried out for clients Ekistics Property Advisors LLP and Hunter REIM, is comprised of a dedicated social, meeting and bar space, a hireable meeting room and a co-working zone, plus five upper storeys of lettable office space. The project forms part of 74’s ongoing involvement with the 435,000 sq ft Exchange Quay development, a collection of seven different buildings, all offering remodelled Grade A office space in a premium location on the edges of Salford Quays, Soapworks and the recently-expanded Media City.
The ICE project is one of a number of staged redesigns within the development, all aimed at helping to create a more coherent family of buildings in the development’s striking waterside setting, along the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, with shared external spaces as well as newly-refurbished interiors. People-focused and progressive in nature, the development’s upgrade has been designed to improve working lifestyles by creating a more dynamic and contemporary working environment.

Project Commissioner

Ekistics Property Advisors LLC / Hunter Reim

Project Creator



David Holt
Bianca Yousef
Rob Brown

Project Brief

‘We were very conscious of the type of business Exchange Quay might attract – and that’s a real cross-section, from finance through to retailers’, 74 founder David Holt commented. ‘This isn’t an old mill in Ancoats after all, but a 90s building with amazing, massive floorplates and so the design had to speak a broad but understated design language that would appeal to a multiplicity of tenant profiles.’

ICE is located on the development’s central spine, making it easily accessible from the pedestrian boulevard that runs throughout. The 26,000 sq ft, six-storey building offers good sized floor plates and excellent daylight ingress, served by a central circulation core. 74 developed the brief with the client to include-a newly expanded ground floor space to serve tenants of the whole development, including a reception, large meeting room (ICE Cube), lobby lounge and enlarged bar/social space to allow tenants to work, meet, socialise and relax, as well as a first floor lounge and co-working space directly above the new bar. The remainder of storey one and all of storeys 2-5 were then given a Cat-A fit-out, ready for new tenants looking for a cross between a corporate Grade A environment and a more stripped-back co-working environment.

Project Innovation/Need

74 worked closely with the client teams to reconfigure the ground and first floor spaces to create maximum usability, flexibility and contemporary appeal. Changes included an unmanned reception area, reconfigured as a calm and welcoming double-height lounge space and accessed by a new entrance lobby with sliding door and blue surround. The first recurrent feature of the design scheme – individual, geometric, bespoke oak wall panels – can be seen lining the stair wall immediately to the left of the lobby entrance, accentuating the double-height volume.

To the left is a bookable meeting room, whilst to the right, the lobby leads directly into the new social space and bar. This space has a newly-doubled footprint, following the strong case the designers made to the client of the value of losing three internal ground floor car parking spaces.

The ICE bar space is relaxed but high-impact, with a own dedicated shopfront-entrance also in the form of a striking grey-blue powder-coated aluminium, squared-off arch. A new public realm external terrace area beyond features 2-colour bonded aggregate flooring with loose table and chair seating. A brand-new staircase was added to the rear of the bar, creating a visual link up to the first-floor communal working space above. A disabled toilet to the rear of the lobby area and ladies and gents toilets directly above on the first floor were also refurbished, whilst the new lettable office suites were stripped out and given new floors, ceilings and wall treatments, plus WCs, teapoints and kitchen areas.

Design Challenge

Challenges on this project were mainly to do with space-planning, particularly winning the argument to sacrifice three car-parking spaces to enable the ground floor bar to breathe properly as a space, with the new direct linking stair to the new communal co-working space on the storey above.

For the interiors, the challenge was to achieve a balance was sought between the raw and exposed industrial elements, including metal and timber, and a cool and muted berry colour palette, achieved via softer, fine-lined furniture, which ensures a feminine and sophisticated addition that off-sets the building’s harder, mirror-glazed external face.

For the bookable meeting space on the ground floor, re-named ICE Cube, clear glazing was put in along two sides to open up views. A major challenge here was the space’s low existing ceiling height. 74 worked with the M&E team to move as much kit as possible away from the ceiling to give a stronger feeling of space. We also see the first use of exposed metal here for the ceiling. The 10-seater meeting table sits at the centre, with a series of three pendant lights above (Elements by Note) above. A screen sits at the end of the room, housed within the third of the bespoke feature oak-panelled walls. Circular LED feature lights on the walls are from E2 Lighting, whilst the carpet – in grey with piped white geometric lines – is from the Clerkenwell range by Milliken.


A recurrent feature throughout the scheme is biophilia. 74 worked with Urban Planters to maximise the scheme’s planting - which goes way beyond the superficial use of potted plans to add a note of green - to integrated moss panels, used both at the rear right hand side of the lobby area and in a vertical format alongside the bar, whilst tropical planting adds structure and drama near the internal entrance from the lobby lounge.
LED lighting is used throughout, including the striking, circular LED feature lights from E2 Lighting on the meeting room walls.

This award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes, aesthetic presentation and functionality. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.
More Details